I don’t have a Palantír, magic 8 ball, crystal ball or any psychic abilities that will allow me to look into the future. What I can look at is how my trivia team has been doing this season! If I had to sum it up with a couple of words, I think “pretty good” is a pretty accurate description! Not awesome – not shitty…
Saruman in The Lord of the Rings using a Palantír.
Rewind to about a year ago, and I stepped back significantly from competitive trivial pursuits. We didn’t have a regular weekly spot we played, we called it quits on the My Trivia Live league, and I even stopped using my league number when playing games at a spot where I’d already won a spot in the previous season (I had my reasons). In mid-November of 2018, a new trivia spot opened up in our ‘hood (Tower Inn) that looked to be a good place I could get players out for on a fairly regular basis. After playing only a few games, we wound up qualifying for the finals. Even though we didn’t really try too hard to get there, well, there we were… you can read a recap of that game here. We wound up finishing in eighth place overall, so no prize money, but for a team like ours? Placing in the top 10 of a tourney is still…pretty cool!
Tower Inn would end up moving their start time to 9 p.m., which didn’t work well for our team, so our “play casual” trivia routine continued when 2019 began. Tower Inn would also end up folding as a trivia spot. We had no trivia “home,” we just played when we could get players to show up. Then in mid-April, Sticks started offering trivia on Monday nights, which worked really, really well for me and my other players. After playing only a few games (see a pattern here), we would again qualify for semifinals, and if we did well, would move on to the state championship. We didn’t wind up advancing, but we were all OK with that! We wouldn’t have been able to summon a team for that championship game anyway, and we weren’t even trying to get to the semis!
Since the Monday games were working out so well for the team, I decided we’d get back “on the horse” again. Play like we wanted a tournament spot at the end. Will we be successful? So far we’re still in first in the overall standings, but with the new “throw out the lowest scores” rules (count only the highest 12 scores out of 21 scores) that Sporcle is doing, that may – or may not – work out in our favor at the end. And that’s…OK! All we can do is play our best with the players I have. The main “team to beat” there consists of a couple of players from a Corner Brewery team which plays Wednesday nights. They are good – but are not the wiliest competitors we’ve faced in trivia. Which brings me to our “secondary” trivial pursuits on Wednesdays/Thursdays, where our primary competitors are players that regularly play on a “dream team” in MTL finals games (that’s how good they are). And this “dream team” tends to win the top prize quite a bit… Enough said, right?
In addition to the Monday games, we’ve also been playing at The Owl in Milan (five times this season) and at Sticks on Thursdays (six times this season). The Thursday games have been going well, we’re just barely out of third place there, with more points playing fewer games than the third place team. The team in third is a longtime rival, so we always eye him/them as a “team to beat.” These situations always bring out the best in our team – the whole “nipping at the heels” thing, ya know? If we play enough games there during the remainder of the season, a tournament spot is NOT out of the question! But that would depend upon a lot of things (not the least of which would be a bit of luck)!
Playing at The Owl also gives us a bit of a taste of that competition – we also have a “team to beat” there – though I am definitely NOT eyeing this place as a qualifying spot! For one, the place is too far away for me to be able to summon players, and also – well, let’s just say I know which player/team wants this as a spot, and I want this team to have the spot without a fight from me and my team (full disclosure)! This is not to say that I don’t feel it’s a public service to give THEM a team to beat every now and then by showing up (though sometimes it’s too easy to beat us LOL)! Grumble grumble golf questions…always screw up the wagering!
It’s hard to say how many more times I’ll be able to play at The Owl until the new Ypsilanti spot opens up Wednesday nights. I hope to go out for at least one or two more games there in the next month and a half or so. As the ’80s arena rock band Asia would say, “Only time will tell.”